COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE – AFA diversity awareness imperfect, but it’s trying

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1 Comment

  1. Andy Kasehagen

    Under a protective canopy of apologies and excuses by the likes of Barry Noreen, the U.S. Military in general, and the USAFA specifically, have continued to squirm from under the public microscope which is required and demanded by a democratic nation that still believes in civilian control of the military and, outwardly at least, protects individuals and minorities against the Tyranny of the Majority with the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

    In response to what the AFA’s Lt. Gen. John Rosa, Jr. said in 2005 (“that it would take six to eight years to fix the problems”) Mr. Noreen comfortably and dismissively states that “…maybe that was optimistic. But a plan is in place and people at the top are working on it. It looks like a good-faith effort.” Nice and comfortable language for someone who is neither personally, nor related to, a victim of on-going religious predation TODAY at what is supposed to be a pre-eminent military training facility for the United States. A military training facility, by the way, that apparently shows its “good-faith effort” by having its Dean of Faculty, Brigadier General Dana Born, lying under sworn oath about evaluating its faculty on how well they can accomplish “COIN” (counter-insurgency) activities directed against Mr. Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its USAF clients which currently number 363. That little piece of “good faith” is currently under investigation by the USAF’s Inspector General.

    Mr. Noreen states conclusively that the Koran burnings in Afghanistan were accidental and yet full investigative reports are weeks away from completion. (Associated Press, Sunday, March 4, 2012: “Full details of the incident are expected to be included in the joint Afghan-U.S. probe that is being reviewed by a coalition legal expert. A date for its release has not been set. A more formal U.S. military investigation is still weeks away from completion.”) For Mr. Noreen to come to an unsubstantiated conclusion of innocence, and attempt to sell it as fact in his opinion piece is simply another grain of sand on the beach of shoddy and lazy practices that pass for journalism these days at the Gazette. The cloak of editorializing allows for your own opinions; not your own facts. Editorialized opinions are not bad in and of themselves, but Noreen’s shoddy handling of a basic and widely reported fact is counterproductive.

    An unsubstantiated conclusion of guilt involving the Koran burning is also no more appropriate at this time either. I truly believe in the innocence, until proven guilty, of any military members involved in this incident. However, unlike Mr. Noreen, I do not believe in reaching conclusive determinations without an investigation. I am also aware of more than a few instances of questionable religious influences aimed at our military trying to convince impressionable young service members that the GWOT is truly a ‘Holy War’. I would be very interested if the pending investigation discovered anyone involved in this incident belonged to a well know Christian military outreach organization which has as one of its goals to “Evangelize every segment of the military society by any means which honors Christ and encourage members to perform their military duties in a professional manner consistent with obedience to God’s commands “. I would also be interested if anyone involved agrees with a recent honored speaker at USAFA that USMC stands for “United States Marines for Christ”.

    In an article dated March 2, 2012 at, Mr. Weinstein asked a salient question (without Mr. Noreen’s conclusiveness on guilt/innocence based on nothing); Does guilt or innocence regarding the Koran burning at Bahgram Airbase really matter anymore? This is an excellent question in light of recent events that Mr. Noreen is comfortably silent about in his editorial. A short list includes:
    – Filming of a fundamentalist Christian reality-TV show in Afghan villages and distributing Dari-language New Testaments under the approving gaze, protection and support of US armed forces personnel.
    -A U.S. Special Forces commissioned officer used a bullhorn to have “Jesus kill Mohammed” blared into a Muslim neighborhood in Iraq.
    -Use of Nazi-SS flag by U.S. Marine sniper squad in Afghanistan.
    -Senior US military chaplains encouraging service members in Afghanistan to proselytize local Afghans. They provided local language Bibles as resources to accomplish this task.
    -Bible verses imprinted upon U.S. military rifle scopes.

    If Mr. Noreen wants to so quickly say “Nothing to see here folks…move along”, I would suggest he consider a career as a patrol/beat cop rather than as a reporter. I may also suggest a career as a baggage carrier based on his experience with defending USAFA without any interest in reaching out for an opposing view from Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF who give clear voice to so many horrifically afflicted who fear to speak for themselves.

    I have one final observation about Mr. Noreen’s comments. As a so-called reporter seeking the cloak of an editorial column, I suggest you take the opportunity to personally question/interview the subject of your derisive observations when they are publicly speaking less than 1 mile from the offices of the Gazette on the day you post your column. Mr. Weinstein spoke at a previously scheduled and well publicized book-signing for his new book, “No Snowflake in an Avalanche” at Poor Richard’s Bookstore in Colorado Springs at 5:00pm on March 3, 2012 (8 tenths of a mile from the Gazette office according to Google Earth). This was the same day of your column coincidentally? MRFF extended several invitations to the Gazette regarding this event, yet no one showed apparently. A suspicious individual may think that your transparently incestuous water-carrying for USAFA may have led to the “coincidental” date of your piece.

    One last word of advice; gutlessness and factual inaccuracy used to not lead to a promising journalism career. “The Times, They Are A-Changin”- Bob Dylan

    Andy Kasehagen, MRFF volunteer
    Albuquerque, NM

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